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Qtrade Review 2019

4.2 4 stars · Aug 2019
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Qtrade logo

Qtrade was founded in 2000 and it is a Canadian stockbroker. The company is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).

Qtrade is considered safe because it has a long track record, offers a high level of investor protection, and is regulated by a top-tier regulator.

Recommended for investors and beginners focusing on the Canadian and US markets.

Pros
  • Low to average trading fees
  • Great customer service
  • Solid educational tools
Cons
  • Only US and Canadian markets covered
  • Mobile and web platform are outdated
  • Credit/debit cards are not provided

Qtrade pros and cons

The highlight of Qtrade's strengths is its low to average trading fees. It's great that for mutual funds no fee is charged. Other strengths that Qtrade brings are its customer support and above-average education tools.

On the other hand, Qtrade's product offer covers only the US and Canadian markets. It also looks as though both their mobile and web applications are in need of functional and aesthetic updates. You can't use credit and debit cards for money transferring.

Compare to other brokers

Qtrade review
Fees 4 stars

Qtrade offers low to average trading fees for stocks, ETF, bond, and mutual fund. There is no inactivity fee as well. The downside is that they charge a maintenance fee of CAD $25 per quarter and the fees for options are quite high.
Pros
  • No inactivity fee
  • No mutual fund fees
  • Low bond fees
Cons
  • High options fees
  • CAD 25 per quarter fee
Qtrade Fees snapshot
Assets Fee level Fee terms
US stock fee Average CAD 8.75 per trade and CAD 6.95 if you trade 150+ or have at least CAD 500k account balance
EURUSD fee - Not available
US tech fund fee Low CAD 0 per trade
Inactivity fee Low No inactivity fee

We ranked Qtrade's fee levels as low, average or high based on how they compare to those of all reviewed brokers.

To get things rolling, let's go over some lingo relating to broker fees. What you need to keep an eye on are trading fees, financing rates, and non-trading fees.

We also compared Qtrade's fees with those of two similar brokers we selected, Questrade and RBC Direct Investing. This selection is based on factors like products offered, client profile, fee structure, etc.

Let's start with the trading fees.

Trading fees

Qtrade offers low bond and mutual fund fees. The stock fees are average, while the fees for options are high. You get a discount for stock and options fees if you trade more and/or have a higher account balance.

The fee structure is easy to understand and transparent.

Stock fees and ETF fees

Qtrade has generally average stock trading fees. It floats between the competitors.

Stock fees of a $2,000 trade
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
USA $6.6 $5.0 $7.5

The stock and ETF fee structures are flat-rate based at CAD 8.75 per transaction. This fee is reduced to CAD 6.95 if you make more than 150 trades per quarter and/or have at least CAD 500,000 account balance.

There are also ~100 free ETFs. However, to qualify for commission-free ETF trading, you have to trade with a minimum of $1,000 and hold the ETF for more than 1 business day.

Fund fees

Qtrade's mutual fund transactions have no commission fees. It's the same as RBC Direct Investing's fees and lower than Questrade's fees.

Fees for a $2,000 fund purchase
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
USA tech fund buy $0.0 $10.0 $0.0

Bond fees

Qtrade has generally low bond fees. Questrade offers free bonds, while the bond fees at RBC Direct Investing are not transparent.

Fees of a $10,000 bond trade
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
USA $18.7 $0.0 -

Qtrade offers primarily Canada-based government, provincial, municipal, and corporate bonds. It charges CAD 1 per CAD 1,000 of face value with a minimum of CAD 24.99 and a maximum of CAD 250.

Options fees

Qtrade options fees are generally high. It's roughly the same as RBC Direct Investing's commissions.

Stock index options fees of 10 contracts
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
USA $15.9 $20.0 $16.8

It charges a flat fee of CAD 8.75 plus a variable fee of CAD 1.25 per contract. The flat fee is reduced to CAD 6.95 if you make more than 150 trades per quarter and/or have at least CAD 500,000 account balance.

Financing rates

Qtrade financing rates are generally low.

Financing rates are charged when you hold your leveraged positions for more than a day. It can be a significant proportion of your trading costs.

Qtrade annual financing rates
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Apple financing rate 5.5% 9.0% 6.8%

Qtrade charges a base rate and markup for trading on margin. At the time of the review, the base rate was 3.95% for loans in CAD and 5.50% for loans in USD. The markup depends on the debit balance, currency of the debit balance, trade volume, and your account balance.

Qtrade markup for margin trading
  Debit balance in CAD Debit balance in USD
Trading less than 150 per quarter and/or have less than CAD 500k debit balance
Debit balance less than CAD 100k Base rate + 1.55% Base rate + 1.25%
Debit balance more than CAD 100k Base rate +1.50% Base rate +1.20%
Trading more than 150 per quarter and/or have more than CAD 500k debit balance
Debit balance less than CAD 10k Base rate + 1.30% Base rate + 1.25%
Debit balance between CAD 10k and CAD 100k Base rate +1.05% Base rate +1.00%
Debit balance between more than CAD 100k Base rate +0.30% Base rate +0.50%

Non-trading fees

Qtrade has low to average non-trading fees. It charges no inactivity fee and there is no withdrawal fee. Although they charge a CAD 25 per quarter fee unless you satisfy one of the following criteria:

  • have more than CAD 25,000 account balance
  • you made two stock or options trades in the last quarter
  • you made eight stock or options trades in the last twelve months
  • you have automatic deposits activated monthly of at least CAD $ 100.
  • your age is between 18 and 30 years and you add at least CAD 50 to your account each month
Qtrade non-trading fees
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Account fee Yes No Yes
Inactivity fee No Yes No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0

There are many further fees you might be interested, just to mention a few:

  • CAD 100 is charged if you close your account within the first year after your account is opened
  • Transferring out assets costs CAD 150
  • If you set USD as the base currency for registered accounts (LIF, RIF), there is a USD 15 per quarter fee

Qtrade review
Account opening 4 stars

Qtrade has an easy and fully digital account opening. There is no minimum deposit and you can choose from many account types. However, the account opening and verification takes a bit longer, 2-3 business days.
Pros
  • Fully digital account opening
  • No minimum account balance
  • Many account types
Cons
  • 2-3 business days account opening
  • Only available to clients with valid Canadian SIN

Can you open an account?

Qtrade accepts only Canadian and US residents as long as they have valid Canadian Social Insurance Numbers (SIN). 

What is the minimum deposit at Qtrade?

There is no minimum deposit for Qtrade.

Account types

Qtrade offers different account types based on ownership:

  • Individual account: account is owned by an individual
  • Joint account: account is owned by two or more individuals
  • Non-personal accounts (corporate, organization, trust): account is owned by a legal entity

Within the individual account, Qtrade offers more account types such as :

Qtrade individual account types
Account type Who the account is targeted for?
Cash account Clients preferring a flexible and liquid account
Margin account Clients focusing on margin trading*
Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) Clients preferring easy access to money and tax-free investments
Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) Clients focusing on retirement and not preferring easy access to money
Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) Clients focusing on the further growth of their investments and preferring flexibility in payment and withdrawals
Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) Clients saving for education

*When you trade with money borrowed from the broker 

How to open your account

Qtrade's account opening process is fully digital and account opening times range between 1-2 business days. Our account was verified within 3 business days.

Qtrade review - Account opening
  1. Add your email address and set a password
  2. Select your account type and account base currency
  3. Add personal information, like date of birth or residency
  4. Answer a few questions relating to your financial knowledge
  5. Choose your funding options

Qtrade review
Deposit and withdrawal 3 stars

Little to no fees and user-friendliness are what highlight Qtrade's strengths. Unfortunately, limited methods of withdrawing and depositing can be a problem for some.
Pros
  • No deposit fee
  • User-friendly
Cons
  • Credit/Debit card deposit and withdrawal not available

Account base currencies

Like the competitors, Qtrade offers two base currencies: USD and CAD.

Base currencies at Qtrade vs similar brokers
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Number of base currencies 2 2 2

Why does this matter? Two things. First, if you fund your account in the same currency as your bank account, you won't be charged a currency conversion fee. Second, if you trade assets in the same currency as your account base currency, you will not have to pay a conversion fee.

A convenient way to save on the currency conversion fees can be to open a multi-currency bank account. Revolut or Transferwise both offer bank accounts in several currencies with great currency exchange rates as well as free or cheap international bank transfers. The account opening only takes a few minutes on your phone.

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Deposit fees and options

Qtrade charges no deposit fees

You will have the following option to deposit funds:

  • Electronic Transfer from a bank account
  • Bill payee through online banking
Qtrade deposit options
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/Debit card No No No
Electronic wallets No Yes No

Bank transfers and bill payee payments may take several business days to process into your trading account.

Qtrade review - Deposit and withdrawal - Deposit

Withdrawal fees and options

The Qtrade does not charge a withdrawal fee. You can use the same withdrawal options as for deposit.

Qtrade withdrawal fees and options
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Bank Transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/Debit card No No No
Electronic wallets No Yes No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0

How long does it take to withdraw money from Qtrade? We tested the bank transfer withdrawal and it took 2 business days.

How do you withdraw money from Qtrade? You can withdraw money from Qtrade by following these steps:

  1. Log into your account
  2. Move your cursor over My Accounts to open the drop-down menu
  3. Click on Transfer Funds
  4. Choose your method of transfer
  5. Choose the account to withdraw from, the amount, currency and method
  6. Choose which account to transfer to
  7. Initiate withdrawal

Compare to other brokers

Qtrade review
Web trading platform 3 stars

Qtrade brings you a basic and tradition trading platform. Their alert system sending you price alerts and order confirmations are necessities for some investors. Having clear fee and portfolio reports are also very useful. However, they do not offer two-step login, the design feels a bit outdated, and there are some bugs.
Pros
  • Clear fee report
  • Good search function
  • Good variety of order types
Cons
  • No two-step (safe) login
  • Bugs
  • Does not look nice
Qtrade Platforms to Choose From
Trading platform Score Available
Web 3 / 5 stars Yes
Mobile 3 / 5 stars Yes
Desktop - No

Qtrade offers an in-house developed web trading platform. It is available in both English and French.

Look and feel

The Qtrade web trading platform is OK. It's easy to use, however, the design feels outdated and we found some bugs during testing. E.g. the order panel didn't work or we couldn't check the account summary.

There is no option to customize the platform as well.

Qtrade review - Web trading platform

Login and security

Qtrade provides only a one-step login process. A two-step login would be more secure.

When you log in on any device, you will have to answer a security question.

Search functions

The search functions are good. A responsive feeling when typing and gives relevant answers to your query. 

Qtrade review - Web trading platform - Search

Placing orders

Qtrade offers the following order types:

  • Market 
  • Limit 
  • Stop limit 
  • Stop market 
  • Trailing stop market
  • Trailing stop limit

If you are not familiar with the basic order types, read this overview.

There are also one order time limit you can use:

  • Good till time
Qtrade review - Web trading platform - Order panel

Alerts and notifications

You can set price and news alerts through the web trading platform.

However, you can set only email notifications, we missed the push notifications on mobile. We didn't like that you have to use the assets' ticker for searching an asset. It would be much easier if you could use the assets' name. 

Portfolio and fee reports

Qtrade offers a clear fee and portfolio report. You can find them if you go to MyAccount > Service center > View eDocuments.

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Qtrade review
Mobile trading platform 3 stars

Qtrade's mobile trading platform has almost the same design and functionalities as the web trading platform. The biggest downsides are that there is no price alert function or two-step login and we found some glitches during the testing.
Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Good search function
  • Good variety of order types
Cons
  • No two-step (safe) login
  • No price alerts
  • Bugs

Similarly to the web trading platform, Qtrade has an in-house developed mobile trading platform. It is available both on iOS and Android. We tested it on iOS.

Most of the functionalities are the same as the web trading platform. It offers the same order types, has the same search functions, and offers only one-step login.

The design is very basic and has been prone to a few glitches and crashing when tested. Unlike the web trading platform, you are unable to set alerts.

Qtrade review - Mobile trading platform

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Qtrade review
Desktop trading platform

Qtrade does not offer a desktop trading platform.

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Qtrade review
Markets and products 2 stars

Qtrade's product offering covers only the Canadian and US markets. You can trade with basic asset classes, such as stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, etc. However, the forex, futures, CFD, and crypto asset classes are missing.
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Stock Yes Yes Yes
ETF Yes Yes Yes
Forex No Yes No
Fund Yes Yes Yes
Bond Yes Yes Yes
Options Yes Yes Yes
Futures No No No
CFD No Yes No
Crypto No No No

Qtrade has a great mutual fund offer. The stock, ETF, and bond offers are almost the same as its Canadian competitors.

Stock and ETF

Qtrade gives access to North American stock exchanges. That pales in comparison to other brokers in their market, however, it could be perfect for clients who focus exclusively on the North American markets.

  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Stock markets (#) 5 9 5
ETFs (#) 3,100 3,100 3,100

You can trade on the following stock exchanges: NASDAQ, S&P 500, TSX, TSXV, and Aequitas NEO Exchange.

Fund

Qtrade offers a lot of mutual funds. It's better than at the competitors.

  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Fund providers (#) 140 100 83

Bond

Qtrade offers bonds in various categories, such as municipal bonds, corporate bonds, and provincial bonds.

The number of bonds is average, but it is an ideal selection for investors who prefer Canadian fixed income securities.

  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Bonds (#) 1,400 1,500 1,000

Options

Qtrade gives access to options markets, however, it's not transparent which ones.

Qtrade review
Research 3 stars

Qtrade's research tools are designed to clients preferring fundamental analysis. You can use analyst recommendations, fundamental data, screeners, etc. The charting tool and other analytic tools are very basic. The design of the research tools seems a bit outdated.
Pros
  • Analyst recommendations for stocks, bonds, etc.
  • Data on asset fundamentals
Cons
  • Limited interactive charting
  • No/limited set of analytic tools

You can find the research tools can on the web trading platform, under the "Investment Tools" and "Research" sections. Similarly to the web trading platform, the research tools have an outdated design and are available both in English and French.

Trading ideas

Qtrade provides trading ideas provided by Morningstar, a third-party research tool provider. You can find them in the "Analyst Recommendations" under the "Research" section.

Qtrade review - Research - Recommendations

Fundamental data

Qtrade offers fundamental data. From financial statements to performance or price history, you'll find a lot of data.

Qtrade review - Research - Fundamental data

Charting

Qtrade has very basic charting tools. You can use only a few technical indicators and chart editor tools.

Qtrade review - Research - Charting

News feed

The news is OK. It is easily readable but lacks visual elements, like charts or pictures. It is provided by third-parties, like Barrons.com, InvestorsObserver, etc.

Other research tools you will enjoy

You can use screeners for stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds. From the price data to basic company information, you can use a wide range of filters.

There is also a value analyzer. Based on the assets' fundamentals, there is a value analysis and rate of return estimation.

A Technical Research tool is also provided. An algorithm recognizes patterns and support/resistance levels using chart data.

Qtrade review - Research - Technical research

Compare research pros and cons

Qtrade review
Customer service 4 stars

Qtrade provides great telephone and email support. On the negative side, live chat and 24/7 availability are not provided.
Pros
  • Fast response time
  • Relevant answers
Cons
  • No live chat
  • Not 24/7

You can contact Qtrade via:

  • telephone
  • email

The telephone support was average speed. We got accurate answers, but we had to wait more than 5 minutes on average until someone was connected. 

Qtrade's email support works well. Through email, we got quick and relevant answers with their customer support by answering our questions within 1 day. 

We missed the live chat and 24/7 availability. You must wait for business hours in North America to contact support.

Qtrade review - Customer Service

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Qtrade review
Education 4 stars

Qtrade offers many traditional education tools such as tutorials, strategic videos, and demo account. A few complaints are that the demo/practice accounts are not advertised unless you are specifically looking for it. They also seem to not update content on a regular basis.
Pros
  • Demo account
  • Trading platform tutorial videos
  • Educational videos
Cons
  • Not much up-to-date content

At Qtrade Investor you can learn in the following ways:

  • Demo account
  • Platform tutorial videos
  • General educational videos
  • Quality educational articles

By far the most useful educational tool Qtrade offers is their practice accounts. Using the practice accounts, clients can do simulated investing and trading, even before depositing funds. However, these accounts are not openly advertised. 

We also liked that some educational articles or videos are provided by prominent third-parties, like Morningstar or Financial Times.

Qtrade review - Education

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Qtrade review
Safety

Qtrade is regulated by the top-tier IIROC and offers a high amount of investor protection. Its parent companies, the Aviso Wealth and Desjardins Group, have a solid financial background. However, Qtrade is not listed on any stock exchange and doesn't provide financial reports annually to transparently display the company's health.
Pros
  • Regulated by top tier financial authority
  • High level of investor protection
  • Solid parent companies
Cons
  • No negative balance protection
  • Not listed on stock exchange
  • Financial information is not publicly available

Is Qtrade regulated? Yes, it is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).

Is Qtrade safe? To be certain, it is best to check two things: how you are protected if something goes wrong and what the background of the broker is.

How you are protected

This is important for you because the investor protection amount and the regulator differ from entity to entity. With Qtrade, this is not an issue because all customers are covered by Credential Qtrade Securities Inc.

Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. is a member of CIPF. Therefore, the clients of Qtrade are eligible for the CAD 1 million coverage offered by CIPF

It is also worth noting that Qtrade does not provide negative balance protection.

Background

Qtrade's history dates back to 2000 when the company was founded. The longer the track record of a broker, the more proof we have that it has successfully survived previous financial crises.

Qtrade is now the subsidiary of Aviso Wealth Inc. which offers many financial services, from online brokerage to insurance.

It's also a great plus that Aviso Wealth Inc. is backed by Desjardins Group which is one of the biggest financial groups in the world.

Having a top-tier regulation, offering high investor protection amount, and having solid parent companies are all great signs for Qtrade's safety.

Filter the brokers by investor protection

Qtrade review
Bottom line

Qtrade offers competitive stock, ETF, bond, and mutual fund fees. The customer service gives fast and relevant answers on all available platform. The education resources are outstanding, they provide a lot of relevant and useful tools.

Qtrade does, however, have its downfalls. The biggest downfall is its product portfolio which covers only the US and Canadian markets. Other things that are lacking are no credit/debit cards/ electronic wallets for money transfers, some bugs in its user interface, and it's quarterly maintenance fees.

Since Qtrade provides great trading fees, easy account opening, and top-quality customer service feel free to give them a try today.

Qtrade main features and highlights

๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ Country of regulation Canada
๐Ÿ’ฐ Trading fees class Low
๐Ÿ’ฐ Inactivity fee charged No
๐Ÿ’ฐ Withdrawal fee amount $0
๐Ÿ’ฐ Minimum deposit $0
๐Ÿ•– Time to open an account 1-3 days
๐Ÿ’ณ Deposit with credit card Not available
๐Ÿ‘› Depositing with electronic wallet Not available
๐Ÿ’ฑ Number of base currencies supported 2
๐ŸŽฎ Demo account provided Yes
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Products offered Stock, ETF, Fund, Bond, Options

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Qtrade logo

Qtrade was founded in 2000 and it is a Canadian stockbroker. The company is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).

Qtrade is considered safe because it has a long track record, offers a high level of investor protection, and is regulated by a top-tier regulator.

Recommended for investors and beginners focusing on the Canadian and US markets.

Compare to other brokers

Overall 4 stars

Pros
  • Low to average trading fees
  • Great customer service
  • Solid educational tools
Cons
  • Only US and Canadian markets covered
  • Mobile and web platform are outdated
  • Credit/debit cards are not provided

Fees 4 stars

Pros
  • No inactivity fee
  • No mutual fund fees
  • Low bond fees
Cons
  • High options fees
  • CAD 25 per quarter fee

Account opening 4 stars

Pros
  • Fully digital account opening
  • No minimum account balance
  • Many account types
Cons
  • 2-3 business days account opening
  • Only available to clients with valid Canadian SIN

Deposit and withdrawal 3 stars

Pros
  • No deposit fee
  • User-friendly
Cons
  • Credit/Debit card deposit and withdrawal not available

Web trading platform 3 stars

Pros
  • Clear fee report
  • Good search function
  • Good variety of order types
Cons
  • No two-step (safe) login
  • Bugs
  • Does not look nice

Mobile trading platform 3 stars

Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Good search function
  • Good variety of order types
Cons
  • No two-step (safe) login
  • No price alerts
  • Bugs

Markets and products 2 stars

The available asset classes to trade:

  • Stock
  • ETF
  • Fund
  • Bond
  • Options

Research 3 stars

Pros
  • Analyst recommendations for stocks, bonds, etc.
  • Data on asset fundamentals
Cons
  • Limited interactive charting
  • No/limited set of analytic tools

Customer service 4 stars

Pros
  • Fast response time
  • Relevant answers
Cons
  • No live chat
  • Not 24/7

Education 4 stars

Pros
  • Demo account
  • Trading platform tutorial videos
  • Educational videos
Cons
  • Not much up-to-date content

Safety

Pros
  • Regulated by top tier financial authority
  • High level of investor protection
  • Solid parent companies
Cons
  • No negative balance protection
  • Not listed on stock exchange
  • Financial information is not publicly available

AUTHOR OF THIS REVIEW

Oskar Golebiowski
Oskar Golebiowski
Canadian broker expert
Oskar's goal is to bring transparency to investors in the Canadian stock brokerage market. With a bachelorโ€™s degree in finance and over 3 years of business experience, Oskar has tested many different investing platforms in the past. His aim is to provide unbiased and honest reviews of the best tools available to Canadian investors.

METHODOLOGY

Everything you find on Brokerchooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology

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